XCOR Aerospace is a new rocket engine manufacturer based in Mojave. They are working on new small and safe rocket engines. Their ultimate goal is to create rocket-powered transport systems that cover 2000 miles in 45 minutes. In the mean time their technology can be used to power replicas of the Bell X-1 Mach-buster, and the Me 163B Komet. The use of the XCOR engines in these replicas can demonstrate that their engine's design is safe and reliable. The following plans were presented by Jeff Greason, President of XCOR Aerospace, at the "AirVenture 2000" EAA fly-in at Oshkosh. Scott Brener (who also maintains Buck's War) made notes.
An Me 163B Komet replica would be an excellent air show attraction. A two-seat version would allow rides to be offered; however, because of the very limited fuel capacity of the original two-seat Me 163S, it is probably a better idea to develop a two-seat version of the larger Me 263. Replicas could later be donated to a museum for a tax benefit.
XCOR expects the following performance figures:
|Speed||608 mph max (Mach limited)|
|Climb rate||21,500 ft/min|
|Ceiling||60,000 ft (mach vs. stall)|
|Flight duration||65 minutes, after a 2 minutes powered flight|
|Landing speed||110 mph no fuel / 150 mph fueled|
|Weight||identical to original design|
The design of the aircraft would be largely similar to the wartime aircraft. XCOR proposes the following changes from the 1944 design:
XCOR is currently operating a 1/3 scale engine. It is fitted with an igniter so that it can be shut down and restarted. This engine uses LOX as an oxidizer and alcohol as fuel. They are looking for sailplane to install a 1/2 scale model. A full scale engine could be ready in 6 months.
The fuels have the advantages that they are not explosive, nor toxic, nor harmful if dumped in flight, and no special protection required for fueling. The cost of a full fuel load would amount to $456 for the alcohol, $144 for the liquid oxygen, and $104 for the nitrogen, making a total of $704.
XCOR will building the engine themselves and hiring an airframe builder to construct the plane to their specifications. The cost of this project is estimated at $4.0M US for first prototype, and $0.5M US for each one after that. A flying prototype could be ready in 2 years from first funding. XCOR is searching for investors.
XCOR have designed and modified a Long EZ homebuilt with their rocket engines to produce the 'EZ-Rocket'. The following report was compiled from information supplied by Scott Brener.
The 'EZ-Rocket' has twin rocket motors mounted where a Lycoming engine normally resides, an insulated liquid oxygen tank fills the rear seat, and a large belly tank carries isopropyl alcohol, which is rubbing alcohol with slightly less water.
The first flight was made on July 21 at Mojave, California, with only one of two rocket motors installed. The test pilot was Dick Rutan, Burt Rutan's brother and around-the-globe record pilot. The first flight stayed over the runway: the EZ-Rocket climbed 30 to 40 feet up and flew nearly 1,000 feet before it landed. According to Rutan the rocket engine came smoothly to full thrust, and the aircraft rapidly accelerated to flying speed. He rotated and flew for a few hundred feet under rocket power. Then the engine was shut down and landed. Rutan said that the engine is very loud, and hearing protection is not optional.
Later, the second 400-pound-thrust engine was mounted directly under the first one. With this engine package the 'EZ-Rocket' made its first sustained flight, on October 3. Dick Rutan took it to 4,000 feet above ground level at 160 knots indicated and 70 percent power, until the rocket motor exhausted its 95-second fuel supply. Rutan then glided back to Mojave. Total flight time was 5 minutes and 20 seconds.
The official rollout and flight demonstration of the EZ-Rocket will take place in November 2001 at Mojave Airport. XCOR President Jeff Greason hopes to have the EZ-Rocket ready for the 2002 air show circuit. The EZ-Rocket will attend the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2002, and will perform demonstration flights.